We are excited that Helma Groot BHS Art Teacher, is this year’s Bexley Educator of the Year. The surprise announcement was made in her classroom on May 12 by a group that included high school and district leaders, parents, community members and her teaching peers.
Groot is a graduate of Columbus College of Art and Design and received her Masters in Fine Arts from Ashland University in 2021. Prior to joining the high school staff in 2013, the accomplished artist and arts educator was a familiar face in the Bexley Schools having been both a student teacher at Montrose Elementary and a visiting artist at all of the elementary schools and at Bexley Middle School.
Since joining the high school staff, Ms. Groot has become a beacon for acceptance and encouragement. For budding artists she provides gentle guidance, expert advice and mentoring as she helps them to develop their voices as artists. For those students for whom art provides an emotional release and outlet for creative expression, she is ever patient and encouraging. According to her nominator, “she loves her students, meets each individual at their own level and gives her whole heart to her job.”
Ms. Groot’s classroom provides a safe space and she welcomes all to participate in the high school’s art club or spend time in her classroom at lunch. Ms. Groot works to foster community among both students and staff. She was an ally for students who wanted to establish cultural celebrations and her room is always the place for staff to gather informally for semester ending lunches. The genuine friendships she forges with her students carry well into the future as she often hosts informal gatherings for former students at her home.
The Bexley Educator of the Year Award is sponsored by the Glick Family Fund at the Columbus Jewish Foundation and facilitated by the Bexley Education Foundation. Ms. Groot will officially accept her award at the back-to-school convocation in August.